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Author Topic:  Be careful who you buy a used pedal steel from.
Peter


Post  Posted 2 Jan 2002 11:52 pm    
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In the interest of justice, I want to make it clear to everyone that the issue with Gruhn Guitars described below has been resolved to Peter's satisfaction. Gruhn made good with a check to cover repair costs. The resolution wasn't the result of pressure from this Forum, but rather the result of their conscientious business practices.

I would not hesitate to do business with Gruhn Guitars based on the details of this transaction. Please read all pages of this topic if you want to know the whole story.

-b0b-



Sorry b0b, I still have an upside down PSG as an ornament in my living room. According to a number of forumites this PSG is NOT a Remington, but a forgery. I had to accept a lousy $250 for repair costs because I had no other option. How satisfied do you think I am? Based on the details of this transaction I repeat: "Be careful who you buy a used pedal steel from".

-Peter-

Peter's original post follows:

Hi all, I know that this kind of posting is not in the spirit of the forum, but I feel I need to warn my fellow players about my bad experience I had with Gruhn Guitars in Nashville. So b0b, please allow this posting on the forum.
=============
In October 2001 Gruhn Guitars offered a used Remington S12 in EXF condition.
EXF = Exceptionally Fine. This was not an "AS IS" instrument.

I checked TWICE with them about the condition of the instrument before it
arrived. Here are their replies:
21 Nov 2001: "The instrument is in fine working order and very clean condition!"
21 Dec 2001 : "The pedal steel should be in pretty good shape with very little set up."

In addition their website clearly states:
"We strive to ensure your satisfaction with these Gruhn Guarantees:
Expert inspection and repair -- including setup.
Our staff of six full-time repairmen sees that every
instrument arrives ready to play (except those sold "as is").
We go to great lengths to ensure that all instruments
are properly restored and set up in optimum playing order."

This clearly gives the impression that the instrument has been checked by their expert staff.

When the instrument arrived it was clear that the instrument had been butchered.
Some pedals had not been connected at all. A matchstick was used on the roller
nut to raise a string. The pedals had been modified and the shafts were mounted skew.
The underside of the guitar was extremely dirty and had NEVER been cleaned.
The result is that the changer bridge has to be taken apart because it is all "gunged" up with oil and metal shavings.
In addition some of the pedals will have to be moved back to its original position and the guitar needs to be re-rodded.

I never expected to receive something that has so many problems and is totally unplayable.
This instrument has NEVER BEEN PROPERLY INSPECTED, OR CLEANED, OR REPAIRED.
In fact it should have never left their premises.

Now Gruhn Guitars refuses to take responsibility and all they offer is a refund or reasonable ($250) repair. But NO shipping!
They quoted $1500 to ship it to South Africa. So it will cost me a lot of money to get a $1250 refund.

From their correspondence it became pretty clear that the staff had prior knowledge that this instrument had problems, but

they decided to ship it anyway. They are therefore fully accountable and responsible for repairs INCLUDING shipping.

I hope this experience will warn fellow players and maybe someone will send me a humorous reply.
I desparately need a laugh!

Peter den Hartogh
"There are no PSG repair shops in South Africa"

[This message was edited by b0b on 04 March 2002 at 10:33 AM.]

[This message was edited by Peter on 09 March 2002 at 10:00 PM.]

[This message was edited by Peter on 10 March 2002 at 07:22 AM.]

Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 2:47 am    
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Sorry for this Peter, perhaps they will come around and make things right. I have purchased 2 steels this year off of EBAY and 1 from a Forum member with direct contact with the sellers and all was fine. I also sold a very fine Gibson and a complete Hartke bass system on EBAY that went very smooth as well. Anyone can ship overseas / International insured. Perhaps a Forum (family) member would be the first choice next time around. One cannot explain or justify these types of transactions.

Good Luck
TP
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Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 4:22 am    
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Though Gruhn is world-renowned as a specialist in 6-string guitars and other fretted instruments, I suspect they have little interest or expertise in pedal steel guitars. I am sorry you had a bad experience. Perhaps this will caution others to buy a pedal steel from a private owner (of know character) or from a pedal steel dealer!
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Jim Phelps


From:
Mexico City, Mexico
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 8:22 am    
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Seems returning it for refund is out of the question due to the shipping cost unless you can get Gruhn to pay it. If you can't persuade Gruhn to pay the shipping, it seems like you have really no choices except keep it and fix it, or maybe sell it to a local as a fixer-upper, you'd have to lose a few hundred bucks on it, then take the money from the sale, put the $1500 you would have had to pay to ship it back to Gruhn (if you can afford to) and buy a NEW steel with it. I don't suppose you could persue any legal action from your location, or if the threat of it would cause Gruhn to pay the shipping anyway, maybe someone more up on this sort of this would know. I think you can only fix it and keep it, or sell it at a loss and get a better one. Paying $1500 shipping on this one is throwing good money after bad. Maybe any of the steel-guitar-dealers who read this forum could help with parts or a reasonable deal on another steel.
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Matt Steindl


From:
New Orleans, LA, USA
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 9:02 am    
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I assume that your purchase was made w/ a credit card, so my advice would be to call the credit card company and see what you rights are. I am an art dealer, and have had a couple of cancelations over the years due to "expectations of condition" I believe i had to eat shipping both ways on the deal. Usually the credit card company looks out for the cardholer over the merchant, as you have a choice which card to use, and merchants are forced to stick w/ the big three Visa/MC/Amex.

Make sure to keep all of your records if you try to contest the charge!

Feelin for ya! Hate to get burned!!! Been there Before!!!!!

Matt
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Bobbe Seymour


From:
Hendersonville TN USA, R.I.P.
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 9:13 am    
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Gruhn guitars, A very famous good company,FOR FRETTED GUITARS!! What do they know about steels" Absolutly nothing! I know them well and I'd buy any standard guitar from them, but I wouldn't buy any steel from them under any circumstances. Jim Phelps and I had a bad run in that I am sorry for and will still do what I can to make him happy,but I don't want to get into it again.But Jim, I'll still stand behind you and help you if I can. The moral of the story is exactly what Donny Hinson said! Reread his post, Donny is a rare person that has never posted anything that has been wrong , off beat,sarcastic, or just plain dumb. Anything he says can be taken to the bank-PERIOD! (even when he argues with me!)
I'm not defending Gruhn Guitars, they just don't know what they are talking about,but they think they do because they are the leader in vintage guitar sales, world wide.

Jim, best of luck and I mean what I said , and always will.

Bobbe Seymour
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Jim Phelps


From:
Mexico City, Mexico
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 9:36 am    
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Bobbe, I am sorry for our misunderstanding. I'd be willing to buy from you again and I'm sure there'd be no problem. I agree with you, Gruhn knows fretted instruments like no one else, but steels, that's another thing. I hope Peter can get this resolved with minimal hassle and cost.
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Chris Lucker


From:
Los Angeles, California USA
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 9:38 am    
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I have bought a few old Nationals from Gruhn over the years -- a steel-bodied Style O and a half-brass-half steel bodied Style O. One was exactly as described and the other needed a a bit of string spacing work over the biscuit. When I brought this to Gruhn's attention, he settled on sending me a new Harptone Case to settle the issue.
I agree with some others here. I would buy a six stringer from Gruhn, but perhaps stick with the experts when it comes to something more specialized such as a pedal steel.
Chris
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Paul Warnik


From:
Illinois,USA
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 10:28 am    
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It has been some years since I was in Gruhns shop in Nashville but I do see him usually several times a year a vintage guitar shows-while he is considered a world authority on vintage instruments I would not buy anything from this man "sight unseen" I remember seeing a style 3 National tricone Hawaiian guitar in his store that was advertised as being in excellent condition-truth is it was a beat up junker with a poorly repaired busted headstock-I feel that his store SERIOUSLY OVERRATES the condition of many instruments that they try to sell-and of course like most "big time vintage dealers" if you have something that you want to sell to him-it is worth next to nothing until he is selling it
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Steve Feldman


From:
Central MA USA
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 10:40 am    
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The thing is - when you buy ANY instrument sight unseen, you need to have some agreement for 24 hr approval rights, during which case you can undo the deal - ususually at your shipping expense. That's just part of the game, and unfortunately, buying from so far away left you vulnerable to eating this shipping cost if things didn't go as planned (or described). Even if you got a good deal on some fretted instrument from Gruhn - like everyone has talked about here - you still don't know what you've got until you open the box, and so you have to expect the unexpected. Like I said, you can always arrange to have the deal undone, but you should always be prepared to eat the shipping if things aren't to your liking.

My $0.02, anyway...
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Johan Jansen


From:
Europe
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 10:46 am    
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Peter,
if you payed by VISA you have a right to return,(I believe within 8 days after the payment) there comes an insurance with the card. At least, here in Holland.
Ik wens je veel geluk!
JJ

------------------

STEELDAYS 2002
my web-site
my bands CODand TSC

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Paul Warnik


From:
Illinois,USA
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 10:58 am    
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Steve-you are right and being somewhat in the business of vintage instruments myself it is always common business courtesy that the buyer is allowed 24 hours(one business day)approval time to return or at least notify the seller that the instrument is being returned for what ever reason of dissatisfaction with the purchase-the buyer of course usually absorbs shipping costs both ways-every guitar that I have sold on this forum buy and sell post is sold with that agreement and I would not buy one either without the same understanding of approval right to return
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Johan Jansen


From:
Europe
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 11:11 am    
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Quote:
They quoted $1500 to ship it to South Africa. So it will cost me a lot of money to get a $1250 refund.


Well Peter, it maybe would be cheaper to fly in a USA steelbuilder/repairman with parts, give him the vacation of his life while doing the job
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Steve Feldman


From:
Central MA USA
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 11:26 am    
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I hear you, Paul. That's just how it has to be, but - good, bad, right, or wrong - the burden for shipping usually falls on the buyer and that's usually stated up front.
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Paul Warnik


From:
Illinois,USA
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 11:34 am    
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Steve-I hope you are enjoying the 8-string Dobro that you got from me
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Michael Johnstone


From:
Sylmar,Ca. USA
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 12:00 pm    
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Since you can't do much else,channel your bad experience into a positive one - keep it and fix it.The upside is that there isn't much to any pedal steel that can't be figured out by looking at it.Take it apart,clean it up and put it back together.It will take about 1 or 2 days work.Parts can be duplicated from scratch from bits of aluminum - by hand if necessary w/a hack saw,file,drill and a few nuts,bolts,washers and off the shelf hobby shop hardware.In the end you will know the underside of your guitar intimatly and it will be set up the way YOU want it.
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Matt Steindl


From:
New Orleans, LA, USA
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 12:48 pm    
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Maybe Scottys or some PSG specialist shop that does quality setups on PSG can offer some kind of middleman service for out of USA buyers. If you live somewhere w/out good techs at your disposal, and HAVE to get a PSG through a store that MIGHT not know a lot about a PSG they are selling. Have them ship it to Scottys for a setup($100?) and if the instrument was totally misrepresented, Scotty could refuse it and send it back. That way, all you would lose is domestic shipping x 2. And if it was in good condition, having a good tech go over it and set it up is well worth the extra $30 shipping + $100 for the setup.

I hate to make your "taking it from the rear" story a cautionary tale for future buyers abroad, but this extra step might not be a bad idea!

Good luck. Let us know how this turns out!
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Peter


Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 1:58 pm    
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Thanks Guys for your good advice.

I am glad to see that this post also solved some other peoples problems.
Thats the spirit!
-------------------
Jim, I am trying to persuade Mr Gruhn that "coming clean" is cheaper than a lenghty and costly legal battle over a long distance. (I have relatives in the legal business, so MY costs will be minimal).
-------------------
Matt and Johan, unfortunately I paid by a banktransfer, not by credit card.
-------------------
Paul, I HAVE the option to return it with a refund, but I loose 2 times shipping costs. Once TO South Africa, once BACK to Nashville.
-------------------
Joahn, I offered Mr Gruhn the option of a repairman flying to South Africa, but he has rejected it.
-------------------
Matt, your suggestion of having it checked beforehand by a real expert is excellent, thank you. Unfortunately I have been mislead by Gruhn promises on his website, claiming that his experts inspect and repair the instruments. Stupid me...I fell for it.
-------------------
Bobbe, long distance calls are quite expensive from here. Could we use email?
-------------------
Michael, your suggestion is probably the only option.
-------------------

Peter den Hartogh

[This message was edited by Peter on 09 January 2002 at 12:08 AM.]

[This message was edited by Peter on 09 January 2002 at 12:14 AM.]

Tele


From:
Andy W. - Wolfenbuettel, Germany
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 2:16 pm    
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I wouldn't even buy a stadard guitar from Gruhns but that's another story.
I think the shipping costs quote of $1500 is a rip off and you really should check that with companies like UPS or Fed Ex. I often bought guitars and amps from the USA but NEVER paid more than $350 ( and that was for the D-10 Wright w/2 cases ~100lbs that Paul Warnik sold to me).
I recommend buying from Steel Guitar dealers when you have to buy "sight unseen". I have only good experiences with Bobbe Seymour, Scottys' or guys like Mike Cass and Paul Warnik.
I hope you'll get most of your money back somehow !!

Andy
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Bobbe Seymour


From:
Hendersonville TN USA, R.I.P.
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 4:21 pm    
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Yes Yes Yes Peter, E-mail me for anything.
www.steelguitar.com
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Jim Palenscar


From:
Oceanside, Calif, USA
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 4:54 pm    
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What Micheal said. Take a bit of time- look at it, and fix it yourself. My hit on this is that anyone who plays this thing oughtta know a bit about its mechanics and there's no better way to learn than having a bunch-o-parts in your lap and try to figure out how to put them back together. True- this is not what you paid for but this stuff isn't rocket science and it's fun putting them together (typical "guy-thing", I think), even if you have parts left over, and you will~ if you're a real guy!)
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Jim Palenscar


From:
Oceanside, Calif, USA
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 4:55 pm    
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What Micheal said. Take a bit of time- look at it, and fix it yourself. My hit on this is that anyone who plays this thing oughtta know a bit about its mechanics and there's no better way to learn than having a bunch-o-parts in your lap and try to figure out how to put them back together. True- this is not what you paid for but this stuff isn't rocket science and it's fun putting them together (typical "guy-thing", I think), even if you have parts left over, and you will~ if you're a real guy!

[This message was edited by Jim Palenscar on 03 January 2002 at 04:56 PM.]

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Bruce Derr


From:
Lee, New Hampshire, USA
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 6:36 pm    
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Another option for long distance transactions is to use an escrow service such as escrow.com. I bought an amp from someone that way once and it worked out well for both of us.
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steve takacs


From:
beijing, china via pittsburgh (deceased)
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 7:31 pm    
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Peter, Sorry you've found yourself in this situation. I've been there once but not to such an extent. Here is something that might help. The past summer I sent a heavy (I think about 85 lbs.)Sierra D-10 to Germany from the USA for $100 using Northwest Airlines freight. UPS and FedEx wanted around $300 for the same shipping cost. I don't know if Norhtwest flies to South Africa, but the point is, an airline that does might be able to offer you a good deal if you want to send the guitar back to Gruhn. I also realize that Gruhn deals in fretted instruments, but they have been in business IN THE NASHVILLE AREA for decades where pedal steels abound. Given your concerns about the condition of the instrument before you bought it, they could have contacted someone in the area who knows steels well for an expert opinion as to its condition. The company not "knowing about" pedal steels is no excuse, nor is their shabby treatment of you in this case. Good luck. Steve
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chas smith


From:
Encino, CA, USA
Post  Posted 3 Jan 2002 9:29 pm    
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I've bought a number of steel guitars sight- unseen from other steel players, Paul Warnik and Bobbe included, and they have always been excellant transactions. The steel guitar community, from my experience, is a surprisingly honest and ethical group.

[This message was edited by chas smith on 03 January 2002 at 09:30 PM.]

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